Where do you begin? They call it ‘the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’, where golden bosun-birds soar over terraced limestone cliffs and the rainforest floor teems with millions of crabs – Christmas Island is truly like nowhere else in the world. But the island’s highly endemic fauna is under pressure. Four species of mammal have […]
Saving reptiles on Christmas Island
Agri-environment schemes involve payments to farmers to modify farming practices with the goal of providing environmental benefits such as the conservation of biodiversity. No studies have explicitly quantified the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes to increasing herpetofaunal (reptile and amphibian) diversity.
Last year the Queensland Government introduced legislation that removed protection for several categories of regrowth vegetation. Previously, regrowth which had not been cleared since 1989, and occurred in ecosystems with less than 30% of their original extent remaining, was protected from most clearing activities (Queensland Government, 2011). This protection has now been removed.
Regrowth is sometimes disparaged by some people as having little conservation value. Research led by Melissa Bruton at the University of Queensland, however, has demonstrated that regrowth in Queensland’s subtropical woodlands has substantial habitat value for reptiles, even relatively young regrowth, as long as it’s within 700 metres of remnant woodland.
Be careful when playing with fire. It’s a message politicians know too well and after recent catastrophic wildfires in different parts of Australia they want to be seen as actively responding to the threat. One of the common responses is to raise the level of prescribed burning but what are the benefits and costs of this strategy?